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ETFs

Understanding ETFs

key concepts

Why consider ETFs?

An exchange-traded fund (ETF) is a portfolio of securities that is listed on an exchange and can be bought and sold throughout the trading day at prices determined by market supply and demand, similar to how shares of publicly traded securities trade on major stock exchanges. Most ETFs are structured as open-end investment companies, similar to the way mutual funds are structured, and invest in an array of asset classes including stocks, bonds and other types of securities. The primary benefits of ETFs include:
 

What is strategic beta?

Strategic beta3 (or smart beta) ETFs are a rapidly growing segment of the market. Unlike traditional ETFs that track market capitalization-weighted indexes, strategic beta ETFs track indexes with underlying holdings weighted according to a single factor or combination of factors other than market capitalization such as valuation, price momentum, dividends, volatility, yield, or socially responsible investing.

The primary objective of strategic beta ETFs is to provide better risk-adjusted returns than market cap weighted benchmarks.

Although smart beta funds track alternative-weighted indexes, they are still primarily passively managed funds because the funds track an index that uses a predetermined and disciplined rules-based methodology to determine how index components are selected and weighted. The fund’s manager is not able to deviate from this methodology.

How ETFs compare to other investments

ETFs combine some of the features of open-end mutual funds and individual stocks, but also have distinct characteristics that set them apart from these and other investment vehicles.

CHARACTERISTIC ETFs Mutual Funds Individual Stocks
PORTFOLIO OF SECURITIES  
DIVERSIFICATION BENEFITS4  
PUBLICLY LISTED, INTRADAY TRADING  
HAVE A MARKET PRICE AND NAV    
ACTIVELY MANAGED some most  
DAILY TRANSPARENCY OF HOLDINGS    
MAY TRADE AT A MATERIAL PREMIUM OR DISCOUNT TO NAV seldom    
ISSUES FIXED NUMBER OF SHARES    
NUMBER OF SHARES OUTSTANDING CAN CHANGE DAILY  
ALLOWS INVESTORS TO BUY OR REDEEM DIRECTLY FROM THE ISSUER5    
SHARES REDEEMED BY ISSUER AT NAV LESS SALES CHARGE6    
MAY BE LEVERAGED some  

The characteristics shown are not all inclusive and represent general attributes of typical investments of the types indicated. ETFs, mutual funds and individual securities are different types of investment vehicles with different expense structures and different inflows/outflows and distribution requirements. Please refer to the prospectus for more information.

Shares of ETFs are bought and sold at market price (not nav) and brokerage commissions will reduce returns. As a result, an investor may pay more than net asset value when buying and receive less than net asset value when selling. Fund shares aren't redeemable directly with the Fund except when aggregated in creation units, which are very large aggregations available to certain institutional investors.

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1 There is no guarantee that shares of the Fund will receive certain regulatory or accounting treatment. You should consult your own tax professional about the tax consequences of an investment in shares of the Fund.
2 The liquidity of an ETF is a reflection of the liquidity of the underlying securities in which it invests as well as the ETF’s trading volume on the exchange. A fund may be exposed to less liquid securities which can subject the fund and shareholders to liquidity risk. While rare, trading in ETF shares may be halted on an exchange due to market and other conditions.
3 Beta: A measure of the variability of the change in the share price for a fund in relation to a change in the value of the fund's market benchmark. Securities with betas higher than 1.0 have been, and are expected to be, more volatile than the benchmark; securities with betas lower than 1.0 have been, and are expected to be, less volatile than the benchmark.
4 Diversification does not assure a profit or protect against loss.
5 Only Authorized Participants (APs) can redeem ETF shares.
6 Investment return and principal value will fluctuate and shares, when redeemed/sold, may be worth more or less than the original purchase price.

 

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